Snowed in yesterday, I treated myself to a day of research. I appreciate that this may sound like someone else’s worst nightmare, but for me, reading what others have written on a subject that fascinates me is a genuine treat. However, the downside is that you can read so much that you lose sight of what your own opinion is. I woke this morning with the intention of getting down to some serious writing, figuring that while the snow refuses to budge, I might as well make the most of the warm office. What I actually experienced was a completely blank brain. Nichts. Nada. Nothing. I couldn’t imagine writing six words, never mind the ambitious total I’d planned.
Having seen this kind of paralysis occur for many clients, I understood what was going on. Fear. Pure and simple. That horrible feeling of staring at a blank page and knowing that you have nothing, NOTHING of any value to write. Everyone else has already said it a million times more brilliantly than you ever could, so why even turn on the PC? What could you, earthworm, have to say that hasn’t been said a million times before?
Susan Jeffers in her now classic book “Feel the fear and do it anyway” knows all about that kind of block. Originally written in 1987 and revised and updated twenty years later, this little book nearly never made it onto the shelves. One rejection letter said “Lady Di could be cycling nude down the street giving this book away, nobody would read it …” Jeffers put the manuscript in a drawer for a few years. She came across it again and re-read it and decided that actually, it was ok and could be useful to someone, so she found a publisher (eventually). Now it’s available in over a hundred countries and in over 30 languages.
So, I will take Ms Jeffers’ advice today and just write anyway.